Frequently Asked Questions
What does vesting mean?
Vesting means that an employee has earned enough creditable service to have a right to a benefit at a certain age as stated by their retirement plan.
When are you vested with GRS?
Anyone employed prior to July 1, 2012 who remains continuously employed until they reach 5 years of creditable service will be vested in their Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS) retirement benefit at the 5 year point. If you were first hired or rehired on or after July 1, 2012 and did not have at least 5 years of service, then you will become vested in your retirement benefit after completing 9 years and 9 months of service. If you reach age 65 with at least 9 months of service while actively employed in GRS Plan eligible status, you will become vested.
How long do you have to work to be vested with TRS?
You must have ten years of creditable service to be vested with Teachers Retirement System (TRS).
How long do you have to work to be vested with PSERS?
You must have ten years of creditable service to be vested with Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS).
When will I be eligible to retire?
Any employee meeting GRS vesting requirements may retire upon reaching age 65. You may retire before age 65 and begin receiving a reduced GRS retirement benefit if you are eligible to begin receiving benefits from your Georgia State Retirement Plan (TRS or PSERS).
TRS Retirees: Retirement with TRS may begin either:
- With the completion of thirty years of TRS creditable service, regardless of age
- Attainment of age sixty with at least ten years of TRS creditable service
- Completion of at least twenty-five years of TRS creditable service, regardless of age, with a reduced benefit
PSERS Retirees: Retirement with PSERS may begin either:
- With the completion of at least ten years of PSERS creditable service and attainment of age 65
- Attainment of age sixty with at least 10 years of PSERS creditable service with a reduced benefit
What happens to my remaining sick leave days when I retire?
TRS Retirees: Sick leave can be used for service credit with TRS or you may be paid for these days upon your retirement. TRS members must have a minimum of sixty sick leave days accumulated to receive service credit. Sick leave days cannot be used for vesting purposes with TRS.
PSERS Retirees: PSERS does not allow the use of unused sick leave toward retirement service credit. PSERS employees who terminate and immediately retire may be paid for these days.
The maximum number of sick leave hours that can be paid to any GCPS retiree at retirement is 1,000.
May I keep all my benefits when I retire?
TRS and PSERS retirees covered by State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) at retirement are eligible to maintain coverage for life. Premiums for SHBP coverage may be deducted from your monthly TRS or PSERS benefit. Other benefits, such as life insurance, dental insurance, and cancer insurance, are provided through Gwinnett County Public Schools and may be continued into retirement. All benefits must be in place at the time of retirement. Premiums for these local benefits may be deducted from your monthly GRS Plan benefit payment. Please note: Term life insurance terminates at age seventy. Flex spending may not be taken into retirement.
Can I change my health insurance once I retire?
Retirees have an opportunity each year to change their health insurance plan during the annual Retiree Option Change Period (ROCP). If you experience a qualifying event, you may be able to make changes for yourself and your dependents. A complete description of qualifying events is available on the SHBP website. Learn more by visiting the SHBP website.
Can dental and other GRS benefits be changed once I retire?
Benefits may be dropped, but cannot be picked up again. Single and/or family coverage may be changed for reasons such as marriage or divorce, within 31 days of the qualifying event.
Are retirees allowed to work for Gwinnett County Public Schools?
Yes, but in accordance with state law, certain conditions and restrictions apply. Please refer to the Retiree Return to Work page.
May I draw my retirement and Social Security?
Yes, but your Social Security benefits may be offset based on your employment with GCPS. Only Social Security can determine eligibility for benefits and amount of offset. The telephone number of the Social Security Administration is 1-800-772-1213. Please refer to the Social Security Administration page.